Bass tourney crowd behaving: police

Even though the Fort Frances OPP is investigating the theft of fishing rods and equipment that occurred at the Bayview Motel here overnight Thursday, police said there have been few incidents–and no serious problems–so far at the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship.
“Everything’s been going very well,” said Cst. Al MacDonald, who has been on-site under the big tent at the Sorting Gap Marina each day since Tuesday.
“I’ve had no problems at all. If you talk to the directors, they’ll say the same thing–everyone’s having a good time,” he added, noting local teens behaved very well at the MuchMusic dance party there Tuesday evening.
“I think everyone’s been having a blast,” said FFCBC chair Rebecca Webb. “We’ve had lots of great entertainment, and lots of different crowds.
“We have an extremely strong police presence and that sets the tone,” she added. “I think it’s clear to people that they should behave and not tear things up.”
While there’s been no serious incidents so far, Cst. MacDonald stressed officers have been vigilant and have had to escort some people from the site.
“We are doing our normal enforcement and taking a proactive approach. But people should still enjoy themselves and have a good time,” he remarked.
He added there are free rides home each night, courtesy of North Air Taxi Services, the district Substance Abuse Prevention team, and the FFCBC committee.
And an alternative to drinking alcohol is the “mocktail” bar being run by the local chapter of Ontario Students Against Impaired Driving.
“It’s going pretty well. We’re down a bit from last year but we’re not sure why,” said SAP co-ordinator Kelly Olson, who also sits on the FFCBC board of directors.
“Kids’ night [the MuchMusic dance party] was perfect. But we’re really gearing this towards responsible adults who will be driving home,” she added.
Mocktails of five varieties are available from 6 p.m.-1 a.m. Cost runs an average of $2.50 in cash (not drink tickets).
Meanwhile, Cst. MacDonald offered a few tips for tourney patrons. “Make sure your vehicles are locked and your bicycles are locked up. We’ve seen a lot of bikes that weren’t locked up,” he remarked.
Cst. MacDonald also reminded motorists that parking is restricted on the north side of Front Street from Butler to Minnie Avenue.
Meanwhile, police are asking for the public’s help in solving last night’s theft. A large quantity of gear was removed from boats parked at the Bayview overnight.
Anyone with information can call the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.